Amnesty International on Tuesday released a report, “Families Torn Apart: Forced Evictions of Indigenous People in Embobut Forest, Kenya” highlighting the plight of the Sengwer, the indigenous people that settled in the Embobut forest.
According to the non governmental organization’s findings, the Sengwer people were evicted from the forest after private individuals colluded with officers of the Kenya Forest Services to carry out illegal logging and destruction while blaming it on the community that has inhabited the forest since time immemorial.
The findings also illustrate that the community is yet to be resettled and are forced to play cat and mouse games with the police as their make shift houses keep on getting burnt in forceful evictions. The persons behind the evictions often quote laws that justify the evictions.
Amnesty International found that due to the evictions many families have been torn apart because a family member often remains to protect the family heritage while the others look for safety.
The Executive Director Irungu Houghton has asked the government to stop the evictions and allow the Sengwer back to the forest. He also urged NGOs that support climate change to refrain from activities that condone human rights violations.
“Development is vital for Kenya, but it must not carry a human cost. All donors funding projects in Embobut Forest, including the EU, must ensure that conservation and climate change projects do not cause, or contribute to, human rights violations,” said Irungu.
Earlier on in the year when drought had struck, the inhabitants of forests were blamed for deforestation and most were asked to move from the forest and the government had assured them that they would be resettled.
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